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Study: Coffee May Delay Memory Loss in Older Women
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Drinking more than three cups of coffee a day may help older women retain verbal-retrieval skills, delaying symptoms of mild forms of cognitive decline, media reported Tuesday quoting a French study.  

However, the study didn't find the same results in men in addition to the fact that coffee failed to reduce the rate of Alzheimer's disease for the women.

"The more coffee one drank, the better the effects seemed to be on (women's) memory functioning in particular," said Karen Ritchie, the study's lead author, a researcher at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Montpellier.

The researchers followed more than 7,000 men and women in three French cities, checking their health and mental function and asking them about their current and past eating and drinking habits, their friends, and their daily activities.

They used this information to sort out the specific role caffeine played in these women's lives.

They found that women 65 or older who drank more than three cups of the beverage a day, or its caffeine equivalent in tea, were 30 percent less likely to fail to recall words from memory than women with lower levels of consumption.

The effect also depended on age, with women over 80 reaping more benefits from these beverages than those who were 10 to 15 years younger, Ritchie's team wrote. It was unclear whether current or former coffee consumption made the difference.

Ritchie was not sure why only women benefited in her study.

"Our best guess is that women don't metabolize coffee in the same way (as men)," she said.

Further studies are needed to learn more about the effects of coffee before it can be recommended as a public-health measure, according to the researchers.

Caffeine, the active ingredient in coffee, had already been shown to increase brain activity and reduce damage to receptors from Alzheimer's disease, the most common cause of dementia in older people.

(Xinhua News Agency via Agencies August 7, 2007)

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